Gwendy's Button Box

  • by Stephen King, Richard Chizmar
  • Narrated by Maggie Siff
  • 2 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine, has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told...until now.
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, 12-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong (if time-rusted) iron bolts and zigzag up the cliffside.
At the top of the stairs, Gwendy catches her breath and listens to the shouts of the kids on the playground. From a bit farther away comes the chink of an aluminum bat hitting a baseball as the Senior League kids practice for the Labor Day charity game.
One day a stranger calls to Gwendy: "Hey, girl. Come on over here for a bit. We ought to palaver, you and me."
On a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat like for a suit, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat....
Journey back to Castle Rock again in this chilling new novella by Stephen King, best-selling author of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and Richard Chizmar, award-winning author of A Long December. This book will be a Cemetery Dance Publications exclusive with no other editions currently planned anywhere in the world!


What the Critics Say

"Maggie Siff narrates with touches of nostalgia, wonder, and insecurity that beautifully capture Gwendy's adolescence. Though the horror elements are effective, it's Gwendy's coming-of-age that truly resonates. Siff characterizes Farris as blandly likable but with intangible menace - listeners, like Gwendy, will be both wary and intrigued. In the bonus short story, 'The Music Room,' Siff's highfalutin accents perfectly complement the story's mix of black humor and wickedness." (AudioFile)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


Let me start by saying this is good, not great, but still worth five stars. Like most King stories it is character driven and that is what makes the story worth listening to. The most unrealistic part of the story was a guy named Harry. My dad who was born in 1935 and was named Harry, but I am pretty sure with the exception of England, it is rarely used in America since the 30's. We also know that Chizmar wrote the ending to this book, because no aliens were involved.

Richard Matheson
King has said in the past that Matheson was an inspiration to him. Matheson wrote a very popular short story called THE BOX, in which you can push a button on it and you get your wish, but in return someone will die. If King credited Matheson for this story, I missed it and apologize, but the stories are very similar.

The last story, THE MUSIC BOX, is very short and similar to a Twilight Zone episode. I was not very impressed with the story, worth three stars, but it is so short, that I did not take it into account for the overall rating.
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- Jim "The Impatient"

A great collaboration

Per the interview at the end of this production, Gwendy's story was one that King started but couldn't finish. He sent it to Chizmar and was pleased with what he got back. So was I.

Listening, you can sort of feel the melding of two minds, but it's never distracting. I can definitely feel King in the beginning with his character descriptions and dialogue. Per usual a world is created that you enjoy "living" in -- making it just as much about the journey as the destination.

I've never read anything by Chizmar, but in parts of the story I felt something that wasn't King, but was still quite enjoyable. I felt like the ending was something King wouldn't have written as he tends to be a bit more complex, but I felt it closed out the tale quite well and I left the story satisfied.

There's a short story after Gwendy's Button Box that was a bit psychotic, but still enjoyable for what it was.

Always a King fan, but will be looking up Chizmar as well after this.
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- Marcus

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-16-2017
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio